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  October 28, 2002

Biology Greenhouse Tours Offered This Fall

Discover more than 3,000 species of plants, representing two-thirds of all the plant families in the world, during weekend tours of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Greenhouses this fall.

Tours will take place at 2 p.m. on November 3 and 17, and December 1 and 15.

Image: Dutchman's Pipe
Photo Courtesy of the Natural History Museum

The greenhouses, which provide resources for research, teaching, and service at the University, shelter one of the most diverse collections of living plants in the northeast.

The collections include plants from around the world: orchids that look like insects, plants that look like rocks, ferns and cacti taller than humans, Indian medicinal plants, cotton, and tropical food plants such as cassava, papaya, tea, cocoa, vanilla, banana and coffee, as well as insect-digesting carnivorous plants, papyrus, and tropical flowers.

Each tour will be led by a UConn scientist who will discuss the plants' growth, habitat, and pollination, as well as their economic significance. Guides will also offer information about plant adaptations, such as the tropical vine, Dutchman's Pipe, which is beautiful in appearance and velvety to touch but which smells like rotting meat to attract flies to pollinate it; and Nepenthes, a carnivorous plant, resembling a Greek urn dangling on a vine, which holds liquid that traps and digests insects for nourishment.

The tours, not previously offered in the fall, are sponsored by the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History at UConn.

The greenhouses are located behind Torrey Life Sciences Building, on North Eagleville Road in Storrs. Advance registration, including payment, is required. Fees are: $5 for Museum members, $8 for non-members. The Museum also arranges guided tours on weekdays and weekends by prior arrangement, for a fee. For information, call 860.486.4460.

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